Getting your kids active is more important than ever. The government and multiple health organisations have been actively promoting sports participation to combat rising obesity rates and mental health issues. According to a report by Sport England, only 47% of children and young people in the country meet the recommended level of physical activity each day.

With so many options available, you may be finding it challenging to figure out which is best for your child. If that’s the case, bear the following factors in mind as you look to introduce them to something new.

Understanding interests and abilities

Observe what they naturally take and engage in conversations about what they enjoy. Some children might love the camaraderie of team sports like football or netball, while others could prefer individual pursuits such as swimming or gymnastics.

It’s also worth monitoring your child’s strengths. For example, if they have great coordination, try tennis or martial arts. Finding something that aligns with what they like and their natural abilities can enhance their enjoyment.

Age appropriateness

If you want your kid to find a sport they enjoy and stick with it, then you’ll need to ensure they’re at the right age to get the most out of it.

  • Ages 3-5: Focus on activities that develop basic motor skills. Swimming, gymnastics, and dance are excellent choices as they improve coordination, balance and flexibility.
  • Ages 6-9: At this point, you can introduce more structured sports that promote teamwork and discipline. Football and cricket are great examples.
  • Ages 10-12: If they’re ready for greater competition, try basketball, tennis or athletics. At this stage, kids can better understand rules and develop tactical thinking.

Positive role models

Professional sportspeople can be incredibly inspiring figures for young people. Watching elite athletes excel provides examples of what dedication, hard work and talent can achieve. Children can then try to emulate them by pulling on the shirt of their favourite football player before training, for instance.

Equally influential are the coaches they will encounter. Those who provide mentorship and motivation along with the technical skills can have a profound impact. Look for coaches who match your child’s temperament; the right one can foster their love for the sport and contribute significantly to their development.

Balancing time and commitment

Consider how the new commitment will fit into your family’s schedule. Swimming can require several sessions a week and several early starts, while others might have a more flexible schedule.

Just ensure your approach avoids being all-encompassing and allows time for rest and other interests.

Long-term benefits and goals

Regular activity promotes physical health, aiding in healthy growth and development. It also provides a fantastic opportunity to develop social skills and teamwork. These are valuable and transferable to other areas of life.

It can also teach discipline, resilience and goal-setting. Consider how their new endeavour can contribute to their future aspirations.


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